Cuddly British take on ageing with Maggie Smith and Billy Connolly Discuss this article

© ITP Images

A cuddly British take on ageing – with songs. Quartet has been adapted by screenwriter Ronald Harwood (The Pianist) from his own 1999 play, and essentially it’s a country-house, putting-on-a-play drama. Only the house is a care home for retired actors and singers, and the stumbling blocks to first-night glory are the side-effects of ageing. The gentle conundrum is whether four residents of Beecham House will overcome
their problems to perform the quartet from Verdi’s Rigoletto at a benefit gig for their home.

It’s a light, fruity film – complete with Michael Gambon flitting around in a silk dressing gown. Dustin Hoffman, directing for the first time, draws endearing performances from his cast, and a host of supporting actors played by singers and musicians grounds its more farcical and rarefied elements in white-haired reality.

By Dave Calhoun
Time Out Bahrain,


  • Duration: 98
  • Released: Sun, 16 Dec
  • Classification: PG13
  • Language: English
  • Director: Dustin Hoffman
  • Stars: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, Sheridan Smith, Andrew Sachs

Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to weekender newsletter

Prove you're not a robot:



Explore by

Our favourite features